27 Apr 20
“Before you leave the house, look in the mirror and take one thing off.”
Coco Chanel
“Forward” slide serrations (forward of the ejection port) on pistols are not a new idea.
The Colt M1900 pistol (that would eventually evolve into the 1911 pistol we know today) had them, and it was a bad idea, as it encouraged the shooter to get fingers in front of the muzzle.
At the time, autoloading pistols, particularly pistols designed for the military, were just coming into being, and designers of the era had only a blurred idea how they would be carried, handled, and used in during actual fighting.
A decade later, when the Colt M1900 evolved, by steps, into the Colt M1911, serrations were wisely moved to the rear of the slide, at the insistence of the War Department!
They’ve been there ever since!
Today, forward slide serrations are still a bad idea, for the same reason they’ve always been a bad idea, and only recently have they foolishly made a small-scale comeback, at least among some custom gunsmiths.
They are still extremely (and wisely) rare on OEM pistols!
Forward slide serrations are an example of a “feature” that some shooters in certain quaint competitions may think they want, but for Operators and War-Fighters they are useless and thus ignored when present, dangerous when the shooter mistakenly tries to get his support-side hand far enough forward to actually put them to use.
“Peep,” or “aperture,” rear sights on military rifles, until recently, were mostly confined to America.
Europeans and Soviets preferred “notch” or “V” rear sights.
Typically, iron rifle sights, both front and rear, were made large during wartime, so they could be used to get on-target quickly.
As soon as the war is over, sights become small again, so that high scores can be achieved, once more, during quaint peacetime academic exercises in theoretical accuracy!
This is one reason why the 1917 “American Enfield” rifle was preferred by WWI War-Fighters over the 1903 Springfield.
Both were perfectly functional, but the 1903’s small sights were slower on-target than were the larger (but less precise) sights on the 1917.
Even in our modern age, with universal adoption of optics on military rifles, War-Fighters and Operators want tidy, unlittered reticles with big dots and thick cross-hairs for quick target acquisition, while target competitors (and maybe snipers) want small dots, thin cross-hairs, and all kinds of esoteric ranging information cluttering the reticle and competing for the shooter’s attention.
When a student asks what kind of gun they should get, and what kind of sights it should have, I reply, beforeasking anything else:
“What is it for?”
“Beware of an old man in a profession where men usually die young!”